Inthe Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the creation of a Marine Corps aviation company consisting of 10 officers and 40 enlisted men. During the Banana Warswhile fighting bandits and insurgents in places like Haitithe Dominican Republic and NicaraguaMarine aviators began to experiment with air-ground tactics and making the support of their fellow Marines on the ground their primary mission.
Beyers who was then Commandant-General of the Defence Force gave an extremely positive report on the future use of aircraft for military purposes to General Smuts.
Smuts initiated an arrangement with private fliers in the Cape and established a flying school  at Alexandersfontein [a] near Kimberley, known as the Paterson Aviation Syndicate School, to train pilots for the proposed South African Aviation Corps. The first South African military pilot qualified on 2 June Botha's South African ground forces.
The SAAC flew reconnaissance and leaflet dropping missions from Karibib and later from Omaruru, where improvised bombing missions were added when pilots started dropping hand grenades and rudimentary bombs by hand.
Forty-six pilots became fighter aces. As part of this donation, which was to become known as the Imperial Gift South Africa received a total of aircraft from both the British Government aircraft as well as from other sources 13 aircraft.
In December the South African National insignia was added to aircraft for the first time. These colours remained until when they were replaced with the Orange, White and Blue roundels. Sorties in support of the police amounted to flight hours between 10 and 15 March and this inauspicious start for the SAAF led to two pilot losses, two wounded and two aircraft lost to ground fire.
The collapse of France in had prompted Mussolini to join the war on the side of the Axis and as a result, air force elements were moved to forward positions in occupied Abyssinia to mount air attacks on Allied forces before they could be re-inforced.
Pilots were frequently sent home to the Union after gaining experience and did not return for many months, after which conditions in the desert had changed significantly and they were required to regain experience on different aircraft, different tactics and operations from different bases.
There were cases where experienced fighter pilots were sent back to the Western Desert as bomber pilots for their second tour — compounding the lack of continuity and experience. Those remaining aircraft not destroyed were withdrawn by the French and flown south to other airfields on the island.
The air component consisted of thirty-four aircraft 6 Marylands, 11 Beaufort Bombers, 12 Lockheed Lodestars and 6 Ju 52 's transports. During the campaign which ended with an armistice on 4 NovemberSAAF aircraft flew a total of sorties with one pilot killed in action, one killed in an accident and one succumbing to disease.
Seven aircraft were lost, only one as a result of enemy action.
With the end of the North African campaign, the SAAF role underwent change — becoming more active in fighter bomber, bomber and PR operations as opposed to the fighter role performed in the desert.Full text: 'Administration of the Navy Department in World War II' by Rear Adm.
Juluis August Furer. The history of the administration of the U.S. Department of the Navy in WWII; includes chapters on SecNav, CNO, the various Bureaus, the Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.
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